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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Western athlete in Sports Illustrated

By Abby Owen

 

Junior Gabriela Pelogi, a forward for the women’s soccer team, was featured in this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd.” Pelogi is the only female athlete out of six mentioned in this article.

“I didn’t even know they wrote an article about me,” Pelogi said. The women’s soccer coach, Travis Connell, is the one who first told her about it.

Gabriela Pelogi dribbles past a Saint Martin’s defender // Photo by Connor Jalbert

Pelogi said nothing has really changed since the magazine came out, but people have been texting or Facebook messaging her to congratulate her.

Pelogi’s favorite part about being featured is that, “people can see see what I’ve done at Western,” she said.

Pelogi has started off the season with 10 goals in 10 games, and is ranked eighth in the program’s history with 31 goals scored in only 58 games played. Last season she started in 24 out of 25 games, and her freshman year she started in 12 out of 24 games, playing in 23 of them.

Pelogi said she chose to attend Western because she really liked the atmosphere. Pelogi also talked about how coach Connell made her feel comfortable, and the girls soccer team was very welcoming.

Soccer was the first sport Pelogi played, but it wasn’t the only sport. With her ability to move fast, Pelogi was on her high school track team her sophomore year, placing fifth in state for the 100-meter dash.

She got offers for track from other colleges like Central, Eastern and WSU. Pelogi had to pick which sport she wanted to continue to play.

Sophomore forward Gabriela Pelogi attempts a cross-pass against Kutztown University in the NCAA Division II semi-final on Thursday, Dec. 1 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri. // Photo by Morgan Stilp-Allen

“It wasn’t hard to pick between the two because I had been doing soccer for so long,” Pelogi said.

Pelogi said her goal for soccer is to get better every day for herself and her team. Although she isn’t a captain, she said she tries to lead her team by being a good example and working hard.

Pelogi lived in an orphanage for seven years prior to being adopted and coming to the U.S., and only played soccer for seven years before coming to Western.

She plans to hopefully further her soccer career and one day play for her favorite team, the Brazilian women’s national soccer team.

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